After being drafted No. 24 overall by the Knicks, Hardaway Jr. was a guy that went widely overlooked in the draft. Still, Knicks fans -- including myself -- were excited when he was drafted out of the University of Michigan. At first glance, it's easy to call him a top five rookie this year. I'm here to tell you that he's the second-best rookie in the NBA.
If you look at all rookies on a per game basis, Hardaway Jr. is ranked fourth in points per game with 9.3, ninth in minutes per game with 20.4 and third in field goal percentage, shooting at a 46 percent clip.
Obviously, Michael Carter-Williams is the best rookie and the likely rookie of the year in the NBA. He is averaging 17.2 ppg and making a huge contribution on a nightly basis.
The numbers get a little bit more interesting when you look at them per 48 minutes. Hardaway Jr. is playing about 14 minutes less per game than Carter-Williams, but what if the two were playing comparable minutes?
Hardaway Jr. is averaging 21.8 points per 48 minutes, while Carter-Williams is just a few points ahead of him with 23.7. Furthermore, Hardaway Jr.'s field goal percentage sits 6 percent higher than Carter-Williams, and he leads all rookies shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.
Another really interesting category to look at is turnovers. In his 20.4 minutes, Hardaway Jr. is third among rookies with just 0.56 turnovers per game. That number is way ahead of others like Carter-Williams and Magic guard Victor Oladipo.
Obviously, the ancillary stats hurt Hardaway Jr. He is in the bottom half when it comes to steals, a category that Carter-Williams dominates with 2.24 steals per game. He is also in the bottom half in rebounds and assists.
Still, Tim Hardaway Jr. has had a great rookie season for the New York Knicks. When it's all over, we might look at him as one of the few bright spots in a dismal season.
Considering the Knicks got him at the end of the first round, he has to be one of the better values from this past years draft.